Advantages & Disadvantages of Basement Apartments



Basement apartments can be a comfortable home with a bit of natural coziness. While “basement” can imply cramped, many of these units have a reasonable amount of space, coming in at 600–1,000 square feet.

Rent for a basement units are also typically cheaper than what you’ll pay for a similarly-sized above-ground unit. You could find a 600-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom basement apartment in a renovated house for a few hundred or even thousands of dollars cheaper that a similar-sized rental apartment  above-ground in the same area.

What is a basement apartment?

An authentic basement apartment is located at least 50% below ground level in an apartment building or multifamily home.

A typical upper-lower duplex layout can give you a good picture, where the upper unit has two stories. The main floor includes the kitchen, dining, living room and bathroom, and perhaps one bedroom, while the 2nd story has additional bedrooms.

The lower unit is a basement or cellar apartment in a typical upper-lower duplex. There’s a shared entryway on the main floor with a door to the basement, which could include two small bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen or kitchenette, a bathroom, and a living room. There’s also a small mechanical room that services the whole building.

The basement apartment typically has seven-foot ceilings and ground-level windows in the living room and both bedrooms. One bedroom will most likely have an egress window to allow for a secondary fire escape. You can also usually find  one full bath with a shower, a sump pump, and a dehumidifier that keeps the apartment dry.

Utilities have separate meters for upper and lower units, however, tenants may share a garage, a common patio area, or outdoor space.

Different types of basement apartments

Here’s a rundown of the different types of basement apartments:

  • Garden apartments: A garden apartment is a version of a basement apartment that is 50% above ground. It typically has its own…




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